Food Blogger Connect London 2013 - My talk on Breathing life into your brand identity

Just over a week ago I did a talk on 'Breathing life into your brand identity' at this years Food Blogger Connect Conference in London. 
Like last year, it were fun food filled days and even the sun came out to play.  A few people who were there and a lot who missed the conference emailed or tweeted me to ask me to write about my talk, apparently branding your blog is a thing a lot of you think about these days. And I get it, us blogger have to be writers, photographers, stylists, web developers and why not also graphic designers.
I had the advantage of being a graphic designer myself, my husband is an art director/ illustrator and we have our own company specialized in unique branding and graphic design called The Tiny Red factory. Although I enjoy photography and writing more than graphic design these days, it will always be a big part of who I am.
So here are my views on branding your blog.

Branding is about asking questions and getting the right answers 
to build your strategy on.
First ask yourself this question:

Why do I blog?
Is it to build a business, to get some kind of income out of it or out of pure fun?
This will determine what kind of blog and branding you are building. Asking yourself questions and thinking about the answers will make for a more solid brand.

The Jewelled Kitchen

Middle Eastern food has always intrigued me, it seems like the meals always come with cozy little candle lights, luxuriously embroidered table cloths and boldly colored serving dishes. The culinary traditions revolve around sharing and giving generously. Spiced meats and sweets remind me of late Medieval British cooking when ginger, caraway, cumin, cinnamon and currants were used in stews and pudding much alike the Middle Eastern ones. 
The aromatics give the kitchens a mysterious scent, almost as if the beautiful women coming out of them carrying trays of oozing food to present to you are bewitching their guests with their culinary arts. 

With anticipation I awaited my friend Beth's book, if there were to be one book about Middle Eastern food I would buy, it would be hers. She who lures people with the tales of perfect Hummus and tasty lamb stews. Drop dead gorgeous and a former miss Lebanon she is a woman who fights every day to change the worlds negative preconceptions about the Middle East.

Summertime at Jamie Oliver's Food Tube party

I was invited to join in on the fun for Jamie Oliver's latest live Food Tube show on monday. After the first taxi stood me up I arrived at location fashionably late.
The back alley of the newly launched Fifteen restaurant - which is amazing, give it a try - was dressed up like a street fair with bales of hay, colorful bunting and artwork on the walls by Barnaby Purdy
Donal Skehan was there to cook up some tasty food along with the totally crazy smokin DJ BBQ, the lovely Chiappa sisters, the sweet Jemma from Crumbs & Doilies and the charming Gennaro Contaldo. There were the two boys of JacksGap who had a chilli tasting challenge with Mr chilli lover himself: Jamie Oliver. Plenty of Yoghurt was at hand to ease the burning flame of the little green devils. I wouldn't have wanted to be in their place, it looked painfully fiery.
It was chaotic, it was exciting and still it was relaxed and layed back at the same time.
And if you are wondering, there was no real rehearsal before, it's just a bunch of people doing what they do best, play with food - or if you're Camden Brewery - with beer!

I had a great chat with Donal who is as lovely in real life as his online persona - because as Jamie pointed out as well, we all feel we know each other from our Instagram feeds and so meeting the first time never feels like a first encounter at all.
I won't lie, meeting Jamie and having a chat with him was a special moment. I would be playing it cool if I didn't admit to it. But not because of his fame, but because of the amount of respect I have for him. Like so many others from my generation and beyond I took my first steps in the kitchen with the scribbles and notes I made while watching The Naked Chef.

My mom wasn't interested in cooking at all but I had a weird need to cook. My first creation were rice waffles smeared with Nutella and butter, layered into a cake. It was a sunday morning in the spring of my sixt year and had woken up before the crack of dawn to surprise my mom and dad with this "delicious" treat - they kindly refused to eat it though :) The kitchen was a mess, the rice waffle cake mysteriously disappeared during the day and I forgot about cooking until the next time I made the kitchen explode with burnt baked beans.